Our 16-year-old son blessed the sacrament for the first time today. Just a few minutes earlier, a young couple gave their newborn daughter a name and a blessing. Suddenly I was reminded of a day, more than seven years ago, that was poignant and pivotal for me. I hadn't thought about this experience for, literally, years. But somehow the sweetness of seeing Josh up there blessing the sacrament, willingly and worthily, along with the sweetness and joy of this couple presenting their baby girl both to the ward and the Lord, culminated in a rich flashback experience that I felt compelled to share.
Seven and a half years ago we had a baby that was stillborn. (You can read more about that experience here.) The following Sunday I was well enough to go to church, but wasn't sure I was ready to greet the throngs of people there, didn't want them fussing over me and talking about the stillbirth, no matter how much I loved them all. Yet I felt this almost desperate longing to go to church and take the sacrament. So my friend Cari helped me look up the meeting times for a ward in Monrovia, and away I went, all by myself. I just wanted to be invisible, anonymous. I was hoping to slip in unnoticed, get lost in the sea of faces, and worship.
It wasn't a fast Sunday, but for some reason right between the opening announcements and the sacrament a young couple stood up to bless their newborn baby. There it was, the very thing I was trying to escape, staring me right in the face. The depth of my sadness, coupled with the shock of seeing that baby being blessed, was so intense it felt like someone stabbed me right through the heart with a knife. I felt actual physical pain.
But then came the sacrament. As I pondered the Savior and sought his peace, the most amazing feeling swept over me. It was almost like "there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yet...there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy."
Comfort. Healing. Peace. Not only was my pain swept away; I felt enveloped in love.
I don't remember ever feeling as grateful for the sacrament as I did at that moment. I wish I could have that poignant and powerful an experience every week. But I know the sacrament is the most important part of our Sunday worship. I wept as I saw Josh up there blessing the bread and water for the first time. And I'll always remember that amazing Sunday when I learned that no one goes unnoticed in His eyes.